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Topics in this Collection

Funder: Booth Ferris Foundation-grayscale


Producer: WNET-grayscale

Major funding for The Supreme Court is provided by New York Life. Additional funding has been provided by The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Funding for the Supreme Court Collection on VITAL/Teachers’ Domain is provided by the Booth Ferris Foundation.

These resources from the award-winning PBS series The Supreme Court chart the Court’s unique evolution through archival footage, graphic techniques and interviews with legal historians and experts. Together, they help unfold complex legal concepts and key Constitutional issues. Explore the personalities and beliefs of individual Supreme Court justices as well as the dynamic social and political forces that have and continue to shape legal precedent in the United States.

Analyzing McCulloch v. Maryland


Lesson Plan

Analyzing McCulloch v. Maryland

In this lesson, students watch a video segment from the PBS series The Supreme Court about the landmark case Maryland v. McCulloch while considering the powers of the national government and state governments.

  • Grades: 9-12
  • Views: 2482
  • Favorites: 23
Civil Rights and Civil Liberties


Lesson Plan

Civil Rights and Civil Liberties

In this lesson, students examine the basic American principles of civil liberties within the context of World War II.

  • Grades: 9-12
  • Views: 2534
  • Favorites: 19
Define and Classify the Powers Associated with Federalism


Lesson Plan

Define and Classify the Powers Associated with Federalism

In this lesson, students watch video segments from the series The Supreme Court as they explore how the Supreme Court defined the balance of power under federalism.

  • Grades: 9-12
  • Views: 2173
  • Favorites: 13
Early Civil Rights Cases Facing the Supreme Court


Lesson Plan

Early Civil Rights Cases Facing the Supreme Court

In this lesson, students analyze and compare important early Supreme Court decisions involving the Fourteenth Amendment, including Justice John Marshall Harlan’s dissent in the Civil Rights Cases of 1883.

  • Grades: 9-12
  • Views: 599
  • Favorites: 14
Explicit and Implicit Language – Interpreting the Meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment


Lesson Plan

Explicit and Implicit Language – Interpreting the Meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment

Students watch two video segments about the Fourteenth Amendment and then write an essay addressing where the amendment is explicit or implicit in meaning.

  • Grades: 6-8
  • Views: 2438
  • Favorites: 85
Liberty of Contract


Lesson Plan

Liberty of Contract

In this lesson, students examine how the Supreme Court applied the Fourteenth Amendment to questions involving the liberty of contract and protections for working people.

  • Grades: 9-12
  • Views: 196
  • Favorites: 13
Minersville School District v.Gobitis


Lesson Plan

Minersville School District v.Gobitis

In this lesson, students examine the Supreme Court’s evolution in its decisions to support individual liberties.

  • Grades: 9-12
  • Views: 566
  • Favorites: 11
The Importance of Precedent in the Decisons of the Supreme Court


Lesson Plan

The Importance of Precedent in the Decisons of the Supreme Court

In this lesson based on the series The Supreme Court, students define the terms "precedent" and "stare decisis".

  • Grades: 9-12
  • Views: 1703
  • Favorites: 18
The Meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment


Lesson Plan

The Meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment

In this lesson, students analyze and compare important Supreme Court decisions involving the Fourteenth Amendment and civil rights.

  • Grades: 9-12
  • Views: 2288
  • Favorites: 40
Understanding and Applying the Miranda Decision


Lesson Plan

Understanding and Applying the Miranda Decision

In this lesson students learn about the landmark Supreme Court case Miranda v. Arizona (1966) and apply the principles of Miranda to subsequent cases.

  • Grades: 9-12
  • Views: 876
  • Favorites: 21